Troy heads to Hotlanta for battle with GSU

Published 8:32 pm Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Troy Trojans will be back in action tonight against a familiar foe in Atlanta.

Coming off a tough loss to the hands of Alabama on Monday night, the Trojans will be aiming to get back on track against Georgia State.

In the loss to the Crimson Tide, Troy shot just 39 percent from the field, connecting on just 23 of the 59 shots.

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“We were disappointed, to be honest with the Alabama loss,” head coach Don Maestri said.

“We didn’t shot the ball well from the 3-point area or from the lay-up area. That was disappointing for our whole team. We felt like we had some really great looks (at the basket), so that was very encouraging and is something we are going to need to build off of going into the upcoming road trip.”

Even though the Trojans may have walked away with a loss, it was able to make a little bit of history.

For the first time against an SEC opponent, Troy finished with more rebounds, as the Trojans out rebounded the Alabama, 37-36.

“I thought we played pretty well,” Maestri said. “We did a good job of breaking their press.

“But to out rebound them was a very big thing for us – that was a positive. And we were able to do that because of the effort our guys played with.”

Senior center Bernard Toombs had a big part in that feat, as he brought down 11 rebounds, in the process of recording his second career double-double effort, scoring 12 points as well.

Now, the Trojans will have to put the past behind them, as they focus on a road trip that will have Troy going to Atlanta, San Antonio and Starkville, MS., in a seven day span.

“This upcoming road trip is going to be big for us, and it starts with Georgia State,” the coach said.

“I think it is going to be good for us to play a good Division I opponent like Georgia State, out of a good conference like the Colonial Athletic Association.

“If we are able to come out on top, that is going to be a big confidence builder for our guys and do a lot for the development of our chemistry.”

The Panthers will be entering the contest with a 0-1 record after falling to McNeese State on Monday, 68-62.

“Georgia State is a hard-nosed basketball team,” Maestri said. “They are very well coached and will bring a lot of pressure against you. They get second and third scoring opportunities and if we want to win, we are going to have to eliminate those opportunities. They play a very fundamental sound game. They key for us is to be able to execute offensively. If we are able to make our shots that we should make and work hard, I think we will have a chance.”

The two basketball teams have met a total of 29 times since the 1951-52 season, with the Trojans holding a 17-12 series lead.

Both were a part of the Atlantic Sun Conference for many years, and against Georgia State, Maestri is 9-12 all-time.

The last time the two played was back in 2008, when Troy walked off the court with a 68-63 win, in Troy.

“I feel like our confidence is building,” Maestri said. “And the Alabama game definitely showed that.

“(The upcoming road trip) is a key part of our season, and to win this first game of it would be huge in terms of developing what we need to have for conference play. I think the guys feel like they can win (today) and I think they are ready to show what kind of a team they really are.”

The Trojans will look to improve to 2-1 tonight against the Panthers, with a tip-off set for 6 p.m. central time.